Food & Dining

Interview with Event Manager, Itamar Lev and Chef, Eli Menachem, of Rodriguez Restaurant




rod-snip3                     rod-dessert


An Authentic Dining Experience



Please tell us a bit about Rodriguez. What sets it apart from the other meat restaurants in Jerusalem?
Rodriguez is really professional, both in the restaurant and for events. We’re a real high-end restaurant. Rodriguez prides itself on its great dining atmosphere, both in the quality and presentation of food and the aura in the restaurant. But above everything else is our emphasis on customer service.

During the first half year of the restaurant, we learned about the customers and what they want in terms of food and service. Over the past two years since I started working at Rodriguez, I’ve been able to bring up the level of the food significantly.

Our goal is to make the culinary experience for the kosher diner more modern, up to date, and higher quality. We can find a substitute for everything to make any dish mehadrin.

We also have Rodriguez Express attached to the restaurant where the food has all the quality of the restaurant but the atmosphere is more fast food style. It’s faster and cheaper — great for people on a lunch break, yeshiva bochurim, etc. Our most requested express item is our asado meat sandwich, served in a warm baguette. We’re the only place around who offers such a sandwich, and itself greatly enjoyed – we must serve at least  twenty a day!

What are the benefits of doing events with you?
Usually food at events is of a lower quality. Here it’s the same high quality as the restaurant — not just the food, but the way it is plated. When the event is at the restaurant, there is the benefit of the food being made right here on site. In addition, we provide very personal service; there are a few waiters per table.

Family events at our restaurant have the advantage of a more intimate atmosphere than a hall can provide. We invested a lot in the high-quality décor of the restaurant, which also adds to the ambiance.

What types of events do you generally do?
Birthdays, anniversaries, britot, sheva brachot and bar/bat mitzvahs are most popular.

We also cater events for many corporation such as banks, pharmaceutical companies and financial groups.

We have a private room in the restaurant that seats up to 35 people or we work with a small hall for up to 150 people. We can also close the whole restaurant for private events, when needed.

What are some Rodriguez favorites?
For starters, we offer some delicious appetizers. A few of the top choices are: crispy eggplant, Moroccan cigars, liver pâté, and Kentucky fried chicken. For the main course, we have a wide selection of grilled meats such as asado, lamb chops, and an always-favorite meat platter. Salads are prepared on site and we have different menus for summer and winter.

What is the work atmosphere like for you as a manager?
Managing a restaurant takes time — it’s like managing a factory. What a customer gets on his plate has gone through so many processes — from ordering from the supplier, delivery, preparation in the kitchen, and then to the waiter until it’s on your table.

The main thing is that our staff work together. My job is to work with them and to guide them. Sometimes a boss may just give directions and then leave the employees. Here, through my guidance, my employees learn to take their own initiative. For example, at events we have different waiters in different areas. I may assign a waiter to one location but in fact there is no need for him there. In other businesses the waiter may just hang out not doing much, but by us he would want to help the team out, and he will look where else he could be useful without my having to tell him. Our staff members are professional and are veterans to the company; they stay with us because of the supportive family atmosphere.

Can you give an example of how you go out of your way to please your customers?
A few weeks back, some customers requested a whole turkey in honor of Thanksgiving. Although we don’t have this option on either our regular menu or our events menu, we went out of our way and were able to produce a turkey for them to celebrate their American tradition.

Whats the best feedback you can get from a customer?
We have some clients that consistently come once or twice a year, visiting from overseas. When they tell us the meal was as delicious as the last time, just as they expected, we’re happy. That means we are consistently providing great food, and our clients know Rodriguez is a place they can count on for a rich and pampering dining experience.


Har Chotzvim Jerusalem



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